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EJOTMAS: Ekpoma Journal of Theatre and Media Arts

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Using Drama to Promote Sustainable Health among Rural Folk in Benue State: Ikyaan and Amua Workshops

Desen Jonathan Mbachaga

Abstract


In the last two decades, global efforts have focused on the high maternal mortality which is most common in third world countries. It is on the basis of this that the UN general assembly in 2016, adopted the UN Millennium Development Goals (now Sustainable Development Goals) as a basic framework for sustainable development, especially in third world countries. In many rural areas in Nigeria, women give birth without appropriate care from professional health caregivers and most of them have no adequate information and knowledge about antenatal clinic or understand the need for facility based delivery as against home based delivery. Using Ikyaan and Amua communities in Benue State as reference points, this article discusses the use of drama as a tool for community education towards enhancing maternal health consciousness among rural women in order to engender development (positive change). The findings reveal that prior to the drama intervention participants had low knowledge on the need for clinic based delivery because most women felt no harm in delivering with an untrained traditional birth attendant (TBA) or an older woman. But discussions and reflections after the TfD/performance made them to understand that complications could arise which would require professional care, including emergency situations that might require surgery. Also, the study observed during plenary regarding mother to child transmission (MTCT) that most people believe that if one is taking the Anti Retroviral drugs (ART) one would not need to use condoms since the drugs control the virus – this misconception was corrected. The conclusion reached is that access to good health is one of the most serious challenges faced by women in third world countries. Hence, the article suggests, among other things, to improve maternal health, policymakers and planners should utilize alternative approaches which create avenues for public communication regarding health literacy so as to effectively empower people to take action to improve their health.

Keywords: Drama, Ikyaan, Amua, Safe motherhood, Sustainable health, MTCT, ART, TBA




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